KMT leaving window open for Han Kuo-yu despite Hon Hai boss's bid

2019/04/19 20:12:03 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Terry Gou (郭台銘)

Terry Gou (郭台銘)

Taipei, April 19 (CNA) The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) will likely hold a primary to decide its presidential candidate in 2020 now that business tycoon Terry Gou (郭台銘) has entered the race, but the party is still hoping Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) will also vie for the nomination.

Having Han take part in the party's primary "is fairer than directly drafting or inviting him," said KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) in a radio interview Friday.

Many enthusiastic fans of the popular Kaohsiung mayor have urged the KMT to directly "draft" Han as its presidential candidate, despite there being several aspirants, including former New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), for the position.

Based on recent opinion polls conducted before Gou announced his candidacy on Wednesday, Han is the KMT's best bet to win Taiwan's presidential election set for Jan. 11, 2020, leading many KMT members to back his candidacy.

Han, however, was just elected as Kaohsiung mayor in November 2018 and has been reluctant to declare his interest in running for the presidency after having held office in Kaohsiung for less than half a year.

He repeated on Friday his devotion to serving the city as long as he is mayor, and said he will "listen to the voices of local residents and take into account their feelings" on the issue of whether or not to run for president.

Wu acknowledged that Han has higher approval rating in opinion polls than Chu and two other KMT presidential aspirants, former Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and former Taipei County Magistrate Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋).

"But if Han is unwilling (to join the primary), (we) cannot force him," Wu said, suggesting the party will ask Han to compete in the primary.

Wu also said the party is still deciding the structure of the primary, noting that it could consist of a comprehensive opinion poll or the combination of an opinion poll and a vote by KMT members.

Gou (郭台銘), chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as Foxconn, insisted Wednesday when he announced his presidential bid that he would only pursue his bid through a KMT presidential primary and would not accept being drafted directly to run.

Asked Friday about Wu's intention to invite Han to take part in the primary, Gou welcomed the idea and said he will prove himself to be the perfect candidate in the KMT primary.

Meanwhile, Wang Jin-pyng said he is planning to meet Gou for talks on their intention to participate in the KMT primary.

He said he was determined to take part in the race and was confident of winning the 2020 presidential election, and he expressed the hope that the KMT will decide on how its primary will be run as soon as possible.

(By Yu Hsiang, Cheng Chi-fong and Elizabeth Hsu)
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